Former PA Senator, Jane Orie, Sentenced to 2 1/2 and 10 Years; Sister, a PA Supreme Court Justice, Also Charged with Nine Criminal Counts

Filed under: News by Contributor @ June 4, 2012

Former state Senator Jane Orie was sentenced today to a lengthy state prison term of not less than 2 ½ nor more than 10 years on corruption charges. This sentence comes after she was found guilty in March of five felonies and nine misdemeanors stemming from allegations that she used her legislative staff to help fundraise and conduct other campaign work. The charges included theft of services, ethics violations, tampering with evidence, and forgery.

Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas Judge Jeffery A. Manning, who sentenced Orie, called the former senator’s actions a “flagrant and disgraceful violation” of the lawyer’s oath. After sentencing, she was immediately taken into custody and made no statement as she was taken away.

In anticipation of her sentencing, Orie resigned on May 21st from her 40th Senatorial District seat that she had held for more than 10 years. “It has been an honor and a privilege for me to have served in the Senate of Pennsylvania,” she wrote in a brief resignation letter.

The state Supreme Court has also issued a suspension of Orie’s law license, a decision that Orie’s sister, Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin, did not participate in. Justice Orie Melvin faces criminal charges of her own. At the time of the suspension, the justice was the target of a grand jury investigation, and has now been charged with nine criminal counts alleging misuse of state resources for campaign purposes.

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